MARIETTA — Healdton weathered a physical effort from Class 4A Pauls Valley for a 54-44 win on Thursday in first-round action at the Marietta New Year's Classic. The teams were closely matched for three quarters, with Pauls Valley leading 31-30 heading to the fourth. An early foul in the fourth put the Bulldogs (5-2) in the bonus, and Healdton's shooters made them regret the rough play by knocking down shots from the charity stripe. “Any time you make free throws at the end of the game, you're probably going to win,” Healdton coach Mike Worsham said. “Being 4A, it's more physical than 2A unfortunately. We knew it was going to be a physical ball game.” Carter Tate hit a three-pointer to put Pauls Valley up 26-22 in the third, and followed it up with a drive to the lane and layup for a 28-22 lead. Healdton's Colton Dunn was fouled and hit both shots, which became a recurring theme in the second half. “It's always good when you can hit your free throws,” Dunn said. “It's a big win. Any win is big over a 4A team.” Dunn struck again to cut the Panthers' lead to 29-26, and an aggressive drive by Chaz Carr made it 29-28. The Bulldogs took their first lead at 30-29 on a layup by Tyler Shaw late in the third. Shaw was fouled just 17 second into the fourth quarter to put the Bulldogs in the bonus. Dunn put Healdton in front with a corner three-pointer to make it 33-31 with 6:50 to play. Pauls Valley jumped back in front 38-35, before the Bulldogs picked up their intensity. A crisp sequence of passes from Shaw to Carr to Chris Choate for a layup put Healdton ahead 39-38. Shaw appeared to dribble out of bounds on the next Bulldog possession, but found Dunn with a behind-the-back pass. Dunn sank the easy layup for a 41-38 Bulldog lead. Dunn began his run at the free throw line after a Pauls Valley timeout and had Healdton leading 46-38 with 1:26 to play. “That's senior leadership right there, he stepped up,” Worsham said. “He played really well.” Carr added a putback off an offensive rebound and Dunn finished off a fastbreak for a 50-38 Bulldog lead. Breydan Jackson hit a three for Pauls Valley to give the Panthers a glimmer of hope, but the damage was done and the Bulldogs hung on to beat the much larger Panthers. Healdton will face Lindsay at 8:30 p.m. tonight in the semifinals. Pauls Valley will face hosts Marietta at 2:30 p.m. Healdton 54, Pauls Valley 44 Pauls Valley 8 10 12 13 Healdton 8 12 10 23 Scorers Pauls Valley: Balcerak 4, Tate 10, Perry 5, Williams 19, Brayden 3, Shedrick 3 Healdton: Dunn 25, Shaw 6, Carr 13, Webb 3, Choate 6 Free throws: Pauls Valley 7-9, Healdton 12-19 Three-pointers: Pauls Valley 5 (Tate 2, Perry, Williams, Brayden), Healdton 3 (Dunn 2, Webb)